Financial stress comes to us all at certain points. It can feel very scary when it seems to hit everywhere at once. A hard economy, high oil and food prices, banks failing, and most recently, the bottom seeming to fall out of the stock market … all of this can make us feel very edgy. It is important to remember that while many things are not under our control, how we choose to handle them is, or can be.
If you are feeling worried about your personal finances, you certainly know that you are not alone. That fact alone may be a comfort. It’s also important to remember that there is truly nothing new under the sun, as someone once said. Everything that is going on right now has happened before, and we as a country and others as individuals have survived. It is true that right now there are several disturbing things going on at once, but even so, pendulums swing, trends revert, and usually things have a way of turning out ok.
What can you do for now? Probably the most important thing is recognize that listening constantly to bad news is itself very traumatic. Remember the horrible day of 9-11, 2001. What happened was so horrifying, and many of us couldn’t tear ourselves away from the television. Consequently, we saw images of planes going into building literally hundreds of times. This was not a healthy thing for most of us.
The same is true of stressful financial news. I am not saying to bury your head in the sand. Now is a good time to review your situation, but probably not a good time to make emotional financial decisions. Get good professional advice, preferably from people who have advised you before, and review your basic plan and budgeting. Obviously you want to check the news and know what is going on. But don’t stay tuned to financial channels all day long, hearing every sound bite over and over. That will be traumatic, and it won’t help your decision making.
Remember that all things are temporary, and every situation is recoverable, except of course for death. One of the sayings I use to comfort myself in times of stress is “Remember that nobody is dying here”. No matter how bad financial things get, what matters is family and people. Material things are always temporary anyway in the long run. Take a deep breath, give someone a hug, and wait for tomorrow — hopefully it will be a better day.